Privacy is something most of us take for granted in today’s digital age of smartphones and social media. We simply assume the things we say or do could be broadcast around the world at the push of a button—and many of us do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening.
Others love this kind of attention and document every mundane activity from their lives on websites like Facebook and Instagram. I mean, why else would people share images of the dinner they’re preparing to eat or post endless, narcissistic “selfies” of themselves making duck lips?
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the Internet and our digital loss of privacy—a dark side that sportscaster Erin Andrews knows all too well.
In 2008, a video surfaced online of Andrews in a Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University—a nude video. She didn’t film and post it herself, though. A peeping Tom named Michael Barrett did. And the entire video was shot through the keyhole in her hotel room door without her knowledge.
As you might imagine, any video of a beautiful, naked woman garners seemingly endless attention online. And when the woman is as well-known as Andrews, it grabs even more attention. What’s worse is that removing the video once it hits the web does nothing. It exists eternally in cyberspace and, in the case of this video, has been viewed more than 17 million times.
The good news is that Andrews took action and sued those responsible not only for the video, but for allowing it to be recorded at all. Barrett, the hotel owner and the hotel operator were all deemed responsible. And yesterday, a jury ruled in Andrews’ favor, awarding her a judgment of $55 million.
Andrews took to Twitter shortly thereafter to express her gratitude over the ruling: “I would like to thank the Nashville court, the court personnel and the jury for their service. The support I’ve received from the people of Nashville has been overwhelming. I would also like thank my family, friends and legal team. I’ve been honored by all the support victims around the world. Their outreach has helped me be able to stand up and hold accountable those whose job it is to protect everyone’s safety, security and privacy.”
Personally, I could not be happier for Erin and commend her on being so brave. And I sincerely hope that her life can return to normal now that those responsible have been punished.
Congratulations, sister! I’m proud of you!